Did Your Summer Reading List Include This Classic?

The Aeronautical Information Manual makes for some dynamic browsing.

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I downloaded WingX's product (www.hiltonsoftware.com) onto my iPod Touch just before EAA AirVenture, but hadn't had the chance to explore many of the program's offerings until my family road trip this week. Wow. What an exciting array of information and features. I used it to keep track of the nasty storms that overflew Cape Cod while we were there. And while cooling my heels in some shopping mall parking lots, I scanned through the 'documentations' section. My reaction was a familiar one: I should review the Aeronautical Information Manual more often. For two main reasons. First, it gratifies me when I realize that my normal flying practices are, indeed, by the book. More important, I always find there are tidbits of knowledge and wisdom that I either never knew, or had forgotten. For example, the section on ground control approaches (GCA) reminded me of the time I flew in the back seat of the lead airplane of the French aerobatic team, the Patrouille de France. Listening to the controller's corrections ("slightly left," "slightly high," etc.) we flew a GCA to Portsmouth Naval Air Station (now a civilian airport), New Hampshire, and broke out, in formation, a few hundred feet above the runway. The view from the pointy end of the V-formation was unforgettable. The 'glossary of terms' on WingX enlightened me to some nuances of the type of approach, for example: "Usage of the term 'GCA' by pilots is discouraged except when referring to a GCA facility. Pilots should specifically request a 'PAR' approach when a precision radar approach is desired or request an 'ASR' or 'surveillance' approach when a nonprecision radar approach is desired."

You just don't get that kind of gripping prose in a Tom Clancy novel.

Call to action: If you have any tips of your own you'd like to share, or have any questions about flying technique you'd like answered, send me a note at enewsletter@flyingmagazine.com. We'd love to hear from you.